Energy: Coal on the Cob

A corny idea pays off

They laughed when Indiana Senator Richard Lugar suggested during last winter's coal strike that Americans take a lesson from Depression farmers and burn corn on the cob. But not everyone rejected his idea as farfetched. For the past two months, the Logansport, Ind., Municipal Utilities Group has been producing electricity by burning a mixture of 80% coal and 20% shelled, dried seed corn.

Though an earlier, similar experiment by an Iowa utility ended abruptly when worries arose over the burning of a corn fungicide, LMU has not met any environmentalist opposition. The corn "burns cleanly and has...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!